Finding a great apartment that is also pet-friendly is not always an easy task. When you do discover the perfect place, there are a few steps that you should take before signing a lease to protect you in the future and to make sure that you, the landlord, and your dog will all maintain a good relationship.
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Be honest about your dog. Don’t lie about having a dog as a service animal if they aren’t one. This ends up hurting actual service dogs and the people who rely on them. Many apartments will not accept certain breeds or animals over 50 pounds, but if you are honest from the beginning, the landlord might make an exception. Take the time to prepare a dog “resume” to show the landlord. Be sure to include:
- Your Dog’s Adoption Story
- A Photo of Your Dog
- References from Previous Landlords and Neighbors
- Veterinary Records Such as Shots, Flea Control, and Spay or Neuter Surgery
- Certificate from Obedience Classes
- List of Favorite Activities
Inspect the apartment thoroughly for any signs of damage from previous tenants and their pets. If there is any carpeting, be sure to get down and smell it, especially in the corners. This may sound disgusting, but you do not want to be blamed later on for something that was already there. Look for spots in the carpet or floor. Search for scratches on the walls. Let the landlord know about any issues that you come across and make sure to get something in writing to clarify that the damage was not caused by you.
Talk with Tenants
Take the time to talk with some of the other pet owners who live there. They can provide a wealth of information about what living in the building with pets is really like. You can discover:
What the Landlord Is Really Like
- If There Are Any “problem” Dogs Living There that Should Be Avoided
- If There Is a Respected Dog Walker or Dog Sitter in the Building
- The Best Dog-friendly Places to Visit in the Area
- Ask How Sound-Proof the Apartment Are
- Scout the neighborhood for any parks or trails that you and your dog might enjoy. Your dog will need to go outside several times a day, so knowing where there is a safe route to walk will be critical. Don’t forget to look for functioning street lights for night-time walks.
Consider purchasing some insurance to protect you in case of a future bad incident. Check to see if the policy covers things like dog bites before signing. Being able to present an insurance document like this just might be the deal clincher for you new landlord. The added protection for you is a huge bonus too.
Having a plan in place and being ready to confidently “sell” yourself and your dog can improve your chances when searching for apartments. Make sure you never lie. If the building does not accept pets don’t try to make an exception. Moving is stressful for both you and your pet, but following these tips can help get you and your dog off to a great start at your new home.